Fires and Droughts Endanger Wild Horses

Fires and Droughts Endanger Wild Horses
Wildfires and Droughts Threaten Horse and Burro Herds

by Margaret Litvin | ABC News | August 19, 2000

As wildfires char more than a million acres of the West, conservation officials are trying to save a much-loved part of its heritage: the wild horses and burros.

About 42,000 wild horses and up to 5,000 wild burros roam in herds through just about every state west of the Rockies. But this year, with a record drought stealing their water supply and wildfires roasting their habitat, this already large population faces its hardest times ever.

The Bureau of Land Management is trying to help, speeding up a program that rounds up some of the animals and finds ranchers to adopt them.

“I’ve been in this program now for 17 years, and this is unusual,” says Tom Pogacnik, a senior specialist in the BLM’s national wild horse and burro program. “Springs that have never dried up before are drying up.”

While the herds are unlikely to actually get burned alive, he said, they are having to travel long distances out of fire areas to find food and water. Some, especially mares with foals, are suffering.

Read the full article: Fires and Droughts Endanger Wild Horses